She was absolutely perfect.  She had ten perfect fingers and ten perfect toes.  Her eyes were wide and curious and drew you in fondly. She was absolutely perfect everywhere -- everywhere except for her nose and mouth. She was born in 1959 with a unilateral complete cheiloschisis and palatoschisis, more commonly known as a cleft lip and palate.  Where her perfect, beautiful nose should have been was an empty, gaping ...

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Unfortunately, measles is in the news again. Measles is a very contagious viral illness that causes a high fever, rash, cough, and a runny nose. Complications include pneumonia, brain inflammation and death. Prior to 1963 there were hundreds of thousands of measles cases in the U.S. annually, causing hundreds of deaths. In 1963 the measles vaccine was introduced, leading to an immediate decrease of measles cases in this country. In 2000 measles was ...

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Youre fine: Thats the hardest diagnosis to make A thought provoking article in the November, 2014 edition of Pediatrics highlights a growing problem with modern medicine: Just because we can make a diagnosis doesn’t mean we should. The article, titled “Overdiagnosis: How our compulsion for diagnosis may be harming our children,” has been made available for free to everyone. It’s fairly dense and technical, but if you’ve been following this blog ...

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Every fall I write about bronchiolitis because it is one of the most common respiratory ailments affecting infants and children under about two years of age. It is the most common reason infants end up in the hospital during the winter and early spring months. Every year we get severe cases in the PICU. Pediatricians have struggled for decades to figure out how to treat bronchiolitis but we don’t have ...

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Postpartum depression may be a misnomer. A more accurate term might be postpartum neglect -- not by mothers, but of mothers. The human infant is uniquely helpless in the early weeks and months of life. His arms fly up over his head at random moments in a primitive “startle reflex.” His sleep patterns have no rhyme or reason. He eats and poops round the clock. Serving an evolutionary purpose, in part to achieve an upright ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, December 5, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Duplication Error May Make Giants. A duplication in a short stretch of the X chromosome may be responsible for a specific type of gigantism seen in children.
  2. Lab Work Moves More Quickly to Clinical Setting. A second investigational drug in the isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) inhibitor class has demonstrated activity ...

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As a doc, I need to take care of the whole child. I do this with respect for every kiddo; and with their parent’s consent, presence, and permission. Sometimes the job includes discussing or examining a child’s genitals. In the past, it was not thought of as appropriate to allow children to speak openly about sensitive anatomical areas (“private parts.”) Growing up as kids, we may have had family slang or nicknames for certain areas of ...

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Autism was first reported in the medical literature 70 years ago. In 1943 a child psychologist named Leo Kanner described a child with social difficulties and repetitive, stereotypic movements; the following year Hans Asperger described four such children. Since then we have gradually learned more about what we now call autism spectrum disorders (ASD), although we still do not know what causes it. From early on it was apparent that the ...

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The fact that childhood cancer is, thankfully, a rare disease belies the fact that it is the leading cause of disease-related death in U.S. children, age 1 to 19.  The fact that it is a rare disease also belies the fact the number of people with a direct stake in expanding research into pediatric cancer is quite large and extends well beyond the small number of children with cancer and ...

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At the national conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), I got to hear Hillary Clinton talk about the AAP's partnership with her Too Small to Fail campaign. It made me happy -- and sad. The partnership is a great idea. It's all about improving early childhood literacy, which is way more crucial than most people realize. It's not just about an income gap when we talk about the ...

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